Today is number thirty-nine in my Turkey Arms Race. A race to strong arm my family as I consume more dark meat than white, devour green bean casserole like a last prison meal, and eat pie like zombies have taken over the world, and it’s the last one in the universe. 

Pumpkin I hope

I know for many, holidays are painful reminders the world isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and relationships are hard. 

But in the tension of joy and sorrow, love and loss, there’s always much to be grateful for. In a world seemingly unraveling at the edge among scandal, abuse, and violence… we still, have much to be grateful for. 

We still have friends, family, neighbors, and communities fighting the good fight. So, I thought I’d rap off thirty-nine things I’m grateful for… on my thirty ninth Turkey Arms Race. 

Maybe it will spur on gratefulness and reflection in your own life:

Hey kids, I'm cranking along for National Novel Writing Month. I'm not completely done with Book 1, but jumped into Book 2, and wrote a couple scenes. I was a little stuck on Book 1 and needed to refresh the creative juices by writing the opening chapters of Book 2.

See my raw, unedited, and incomplete chapters below.

Totals to date (November 13th): after 13 days, 26,914 words / 2070 per day

Enjoy!

Remember days of old when the internet was a somewhat neutral place for surfing and finding pertinent information? Rather than the current hostile bedsore infection of hate, irrational and unfiltered opinions, judgment, and more hate. 

Walk down memory lane when Myspace a place to find friends, discover new bands, and discuss our favorite things. Facebook a happy and sterile place to share latest birth announcements, occasional funny cat videos, and catch up with old friends. Twitter a vital place for finding important news links and helpful articles. 

Maybe I sound like my parents lamenting a version of their upbringing akin to Happy Days and Mayberry. That world never existed, by the way. I digress. 

But what happened? A good technological tool fostering relationships online (as limited as this can be), now a cesspool of venom and malice. A digital platform where sin allowed to run free and never contested. Maybe my memory is foggy, and maybe my parents were right, but I recall a semblance of cultural decency and niceness. Times when people shook hands, kept their word, and waved at neighbors when they drove by.

I’m not suggesting the sin-gene nonexistent for a brief blip in 50’s and 60’s suburbia. Happy Days and Mayberry were never a thing. Yet, I recall a time when strangers cared about their neighbors, simply because they were neighbors. People supported the President, simply because they were President (regardless of political affiliation). 

There was a time, not too long ago, when we didn’t live in multimedia cocoons and bubbles only leaving to get food to fuel another Netflix binge. We took part in bowling leagues, charitable causes, churches, civic committees, and gave leadership to causes we felt helped our neighbors in tangible ways. 

More updates. Here are a couple chapters of the children's book in the works. I'm cruising along, making some good progress. I wanted you to see in "public" what a working manuscript looks like. At least what mine looks like. These chapters have had minimal edits and polishing. 

My process is to write fast and often. Then cycle back every few writing sessions, to edit and clean up, and make sure the story is making sense. I like to keep my editing at a minimum on the backend. More focusing on making the story clear and punchy, not getting bogged down with spelling and grammar mistakes. 

Enjoy!

I thought it would be fun to share my pages from the book I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month. The first day I managed about 3200 words, which is three chapters. I'm shooting for 1200 words per chapter for a nice flow. The first book will be 25,000 words give or take (100 pages). 

This book is a children's chapter book aimed for ages 7-12. My sons are helping me build out the story. I shared the first chapter with them and they loved it!

So, here are my not-edited, raw, pages of my book. I want you to see the evolution from start to finished project. Tell me what you think?

So National Novel Writing Month is almost here. Tonight is Halloween, and the eve of one of my favorite highlights of the year, writing a novel in 30 days with a bunch of crazies.

This year, I’m making it a family affair. I’ve recruited some of the best storytellers I know. My sons Noah (ten) and Owen (six). They churn out stories and book ideas like crazy. And because I’ve never written a kid’s chapter book, they are helping me understand the inner workings of a solid book for little humans. A book kid’s will read when the iPad is vying for their attention.  

What makes a good kid’s book you ask? Action, Dad, lots of action. And fighting, and swords, and a kid lead character. Got it. 

So were writing a poor man’s Indiana Jones tale, actually, two of them.

I’ve written thousands of articles and blog posts on a variety of subjects in the last fifteen years. Written fifteen non fiction and fiction works on a variety of subjects. Theology, leadership, productivity, writing craft, Christian inspiration, church ministry, crime adventures mystery, and suspense. More to come. 

Most of the time I write to work out my thinking and thoughts on a subject. Other times writing is cathartic and healing for pain and turmoil in the soul. I write because I have no choice. Write because I love exploring made up worlds in my head. I love expressing myself and accessing the creative itch and serving people with words. 

But sometimes pivoting and change is good.